Chemawa Indian Boarding School: The First One Hundred Years, 1880 to 1980

Universal-Publishers, 1997 - 162 Seiten

This study presents interviews with American Indian/ Alaska Native alumni who received some or all of their elementary and high school education at the Chemawa Indian Boarding School in Salem, Oregon between 1917 and 1985. A brief summary of Indian history, in particular Indian education, is presented as the context for many of the changes that occurred at Chemawa during its first one hundred years. The purpose of this study is to examine Chemawa alumni recollections of Chemawa within an imposed educational system.

My research process included library and archival research, academic classes and personal interviews. I interviewed alumni who had attended Chemawa between 1917 and 1985. Themes such as academics, vocational training, social life and general impressions of Chemawa are categorized in the different eras and serve as the body of the thesis.

Despite negative stereotypes of federal Indian boarding schools, the majority of Chemawa alumni interviewed for this thesis hold Chemawa in high regard. For many students Chemawa was an alternative to an orphanage, a respite from a dysfunctional family situation, an opportunity to gain an education and or vocational skills, or an opportunity to be with other Indians. Across generations, at least half of the students considered Chemawa's academic program inadequate; over half of the students interviewed found the vocational training, when it was available, to be very useful. Though most students acknowledge the downfalls of Chemawa, most alumni interviewed tended to overlook the negative and promote the positive.

Alumni were able to view Chemawa in a positive light because students molded their boarding school experiences to fit their needs. Students created their own families (friends), community (school) and resisted the institutional suppression of Indian boarding schools. As young people, many adapted their situation to suit their needs, regardless of any negative experiences they might have encountered at Chemawa.

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Early Indian History

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Seite 14 - Indians; their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent ; and in their property rights and liberty they shall never be invaded or disturbed, unless in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress; but laws founded in justice and humanity shall, from time to time, be made, for preventing wrongs being done to them, and for preserving peace and friendship with them.
Seite 12 - We have had some experience of it ; several of our young people were formerly brought up at the colleges of the northern provinces; they were instructed in all your sciences ; but, when they came back to us, they were bad runners, ignorant of every means of living in the woods, unable to bear either cold or hunger, knew neither how to build a cabin, take a deer, nor kill an enemy, spoke our language imperfectly, were therefore neither fit for hunters, warriors, nor counsellors ; they were totally...
Seite 12 - Offer, tho' we decline accepting it; and, to show our grateful Sense of it, if the Gentlemen of Virginia will send us a Dozen of their Sons, we will take great Care of their Education, instruct them in all we know, and make Men of them.
Seite 108 - The Congress hereby recognizes the obligation of the United States to respond to the strong expression of the Indian people for self-determination by assuring maximum Indian participation in the direction of educational programs as well as other Federal services to Indian communities so as to render such services more responsive to the needs and desires of those communities".
Seite 12 - We are, however, not the less obliged by your kind offer, though we decline accepting it: and to show our grateful sense of it, if the gentlemen of Virginia will send us a dozen of their sons, we will take great care of their education, instruct them in all we 'know, and make men of them.
Seite 12 - Proposal, and we thank you heartily. But you who are wise must know, that different Nations have different Conceptions of things; and you will therefore not take it amiss, if our Ideas of this Kind of Education happen not to be the same with yours.
Seite 56 - The first and foremost need in Indian education is a change in point of view. Whatever may have been the official governmental attitude, education for the Indian in the past has proceeded largely on the theory that it is necesary to remove the Indian child as far as possible from his home environment...
Seite 136 - The fundamental requirement is that the task of the Indian Service be recognized as primarily educational, in the broadest sense of that word, and that it be made an efficient educational agency, devoting its main energies to the social and economic advancement of the Indians, so that they may be absorbed into the prevailing civilization or be fitted to live in the presence of that civilization at least in accordance with a minimum standard of health and decency.
Seite 136 - ... determined by a signal or an order, leads just the other way. ,For the effort to bring Indian schools up to standard by prescribing from Washington a uniform course of study for all Indian schools and by sending out from Washington uniform examination questions, must be substituted the only method of fixing standards that has been found effective in other school systems, namely, that of establishing reasonably high minimum standards for entrance into positions in the Indian school system. Only...

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